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  1. #11
    Gerry M's Avatar
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    I have FM2N, F3HP, F2A & F2AS. Had FE2 and sold it. No experience with FM3A, but, unless it's build quality differs greatly from FE2/FM2N, there is no contest in build quality compared to the pro bodies. Just my opinion. If I could have only one, it would be one of the F2's.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mfratt View Post
    Yea, I know these articles are all over the interwebs, but I wanted to ask some specific questions between the two that I was having a hard time finding. Maybe those of you who own / have used both can chime in.

    I am replacing my FM. The shutter is firing when I advance the film and I can't seem to fix it (and the cost of repair would likely be the value of the camera).

    I pondered an F5 for a while, but I think I like the simplicity of older manual focus cameras and (less/no) dependence on batteries. I'm down to the F3HP or FM3a.

    My specific concerns are:
    -Battery life on the F3, how many rolls can you get out of it?
    -Viewfinder, the FM's finder position always felt a little crunched to me, so the HP will definitely be better, but what of the subjective experience of actually looking through the prism? I also prefer the LEDs (shoot with dark backgrounds a lot), but I'm not married to it.
    -Cost - why is the FM3a twice as much as an F3? With an F3, I'd be able to get a 50/1.2, with the FM3, I'd need to settle for a 1.4.
    -Mirror slap, my FM has a pretty noisy and ugly slap. How do these stack up?
    -Does one feel like a more solid camera than the other? Ergonomic concerns?

    If anyone else has any subjective comparisons you'd like to share, I'm all ears. It will be used as an all-around camera, including something to stick by my side on my long bicycle tours and hiking trips.
    Based on your criteria, I think I'd recommend an FM2n over an FM3a.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMbikerider View Post
    The only drawback that I can think of with the F3 and the Fm3a is the choice of flash unit. I don't know of any independent flash units that fit onto the F3's shoe, except possibly Metz so you are limited to a couple or possibly 3 Nikon ones if you want TTL flash.
    One of the many accessories for the F3 includes the AS-17. This adapter gives the F3 a standard show with TTL.


  4. #14

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    Hello,
    if you are a fan of the "zone system" as far as it is feasible in 35 mm, the FE, FE-2 or FM-3a are in my opinion the better choice. You should shoot in manual mode and you see the time the camera would choice in automatic mode by the pointer and the time you have set manually by the green bar. You can easily shift the aperture and see the difference towards over- or under-exposure in the viewfinder. The over/under correction of the F-3 is locked, takes time and you don't see in the viewfinder that you have set a correction.

  5. #15
    clayne's Avatar
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    Alright, given the choices and what I expect the OP to be using it for, I recommend the F3HP. 100% viewfinder, aperture-priority, pro level camera without any nonsense.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  6. #16

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    I just got an F3 that's been through hell and back and it runs beautifully
    Soft shutter release, the non HP is not bad with glasses, but the HP is even better
    Smooooooooth film wind
    Electronics on it should not be a concern

    EDIT: I know someone above mentioned the Zone system and the FE2 and FM3A. Note that the meter on the F3 is 80/20 center weight over the traditional 60/40. This makes it a quasi spot meter

  7. #17
    MDR
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    80/20 doesn't even make it remotely a spot meter a spot meter is 1° max 3° and doesn't take in account 20% outside information. If someone wants to do the Zone System he/she should invest in a good spot meter even in camera spot meters are not real spot meters.
    The glass thing is a good point though if the OP wears glasses the F3HP would be the best choice even better than the F and F2.

  8. #18
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDR View Post
    80/20 doesn't even make it remotely a spot meter a spot meter is 1° max 3° and doesn't take in account 20% outside information. If someone wants to do the Zone System he/she should invest in a good spot meter even in camera spot meters are not real spot meters.
    The glass thing is a good point though if the OP wears glasses the F3HP would be the best choice even better than the F and F2.
    A true zone system procedure and 35mm rolls of film makes no sense since the development of each frame of exposure of film is a huge part of the zone system process.
    -----------------------

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  9. #19
    clayne's Avatar
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    The OP mentioned they simply wanted to replace their FM. I highly doubt they're interested in getting all Ansel Adams with a Nikon F of any variation. Therefore I don't even know why we're even talking about the zone system.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  10. #20

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    I've owned a Nikon F3HP since 1983. Since I don't own, nor expect to own a Nikon FM3a I can't really provide a comparison. In regard to some of your other questions, as others have done, I think you should lay any concerns about the battery life of a F3 to rest. That was, way back in 1980, a real concern that was expressed by photographers who had cut their teeth with the original Nikon F or F2 cameras. As Shutterbug magazine said some time ago in a classic camera review of the F3 that concern seems quaint in the current era ( link: http://www.shutterbug.com/content/sa...-35mm-slr-saga ).

    The batteries for the camera body only of a Nikon F3 (if you're not using the MD-4 motordrive) are dinky watch type batteries that last for a long time. It's very, very easy to carry a few spare batteries in a kit for insurance. Many users consider the F3 to be the best manual focus SLR ever made. That's just a statement of fact, it's not an argument. The camera was the result of 30 years experience that Nikon had in making 35mm cameras and the experience shows. The camera was proven time and again as a reliable and rugged professional tool, well worthy of the mantle from prior Nikon F series cameras.

    On an aside, if you really want a compact package to carry on a bike ride try to obtain one of the 50mm f/1.8 lens that were made from 1980-82 and originally sold only in the Japanese market. This lens is referred to as the "AI Nikkor 50mm f/1.8S" lens in most sources (link: http://imaging.nikon.com/history/nikkor/2/index.htm ). It's only 36.5mm from the lens flange and is a very nice lens (link: http://www.destoutz.ch/lens_50mm_f1.8_2257006.html ) These lens show up on eBay with some frequency, although the lens was produced for only a short period.

    Finally, IMHO, the Nikon F3HP is the best looking 35mm SLR ever made.

    Jim
    Last edited by JimCee; 08-19-2013 at 04:43 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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